Oct. 29, 1999
Dear Friends of Villanova University,
I am writing to keep you abreast of the latest developments which have occurred concerning the Athletic Department's fund raising operations which benefit Villanova's student-athletes.
Our affiliation agreement with the Wildcat Club expired in September, 1996, and since that time we have worked tirelessly with Club representatives in an attempt to reach a new agreement that would be in the best interest of our student-athletes and athletic programs. In November, 1998, the University took the extraordinary step of appointing a special committee of the Board of Trustees to work out an agreement between the University and the Club. An agreement in principle was reached in June, 1999, between the negotiating teams, but regrettably, the Club voted not to approve the proposal at their annual meeting held in October, 1999. As a result, Villanova University is disassociating itself from the Wildcat Club for the reasons contained in the following statement.
The Villanova University Board of Trustees, acting upon its June 14, 1999, resolution, stated that the Wildcat Club no longer will be authorized to raise funds on behalf of the University. This action was taken, with regret, because the Club has chosen not to accept a new affiliation proposal. The Block V Club has been established to continue fund raising activities with alumni and friends to benefit Villanova student-athletes.
The action was also taken in the wake of department and independent NCAA reviews that recommended the University's administration strengthen institutional control of all fund raising and booster club-related activities. Although the Wildcat Club has been in compliance with NCAA rules and regulations, a top NCAA official warned of possible future conflicts. According to David Berst, the former Director of Enforcement for the NCAA and the current NCAA Division I Chief-of-Staff:
Although institutions solicit interest and support from groups like the Wildcat Club, we do not hesitate to hold the institution directly responsible under NCAA rules for the acts of such groups when assisting an athletics program. That can be especially detrimental to an institution in a case where there is no attempt to connect the administration of the club to the institution.
During the past two years, the University has attempted to continue its relationship with the Club. The University presented a plan, which would ensure compliance with NCAA rules and regulations, establish appropriate institutional controls and maintain the relationship with the Club. These significant negotiation efforts proved to be unsuccessful and an agreement was not reached.
The creation of the Block V Club will guarantee the continued growth of the Villanova Athletics Department in its goal to provide the highest level of athletic and academic resources for its student-athletes. The Block V Club will operate under the direction of the Villanova University Athletics Department. The Wildcat Club operated independently.
The University's charter and Pennsylvania law make it imperative that the University monitor all of its fund raising activities. The creation of the Block V Club will help guarantee that all fund raising activities will be in full compliance with state law.
In addition to the above statement, I have included a page of "frequently asked questions" regarding this issue. I encourage you to share this information with other alumni and supporters of Villanova University Athletics.
The new fund raising arm of the Villanova University Athletics Department, the Block V Club, has been established to provide the necessary funds to support our student-athletes in all 24 intercollegiate sports. The Block V Club will also provide the highest degree of accountability in the area of compliance. This initiative will allow student-athletes the opportunity to continue achieving excellence both in the classroom and on the playing field.
Our athletics department is dedicated to assisting our student-athletes as they strive for excellence as we enter the 21st century. Your support will assist us in making their dreams and ambitions a reality, and we encourage all supporters of Villanova Athletics to take an active part in this new and exciting organization.
On a personal note, I want you to know that you play a vital role in the success of our athletic programs as we compete on a national level. I welcome your active participation and support of Villanova Athletics.
Director of Athletics
Frequently Asked Questions
We invite you to read a series of questions and answers, which are most frequently posed when discussing this issue with our loyal and supportive alumni and friends.
Why is this change occurring now?
During the past two years, the University has attempted to continue its relationship with the previous fund raising organization. The University presented a plan, which would ensure compliance with NCAA rules and regulations, establish appropriate institutional controls and maintain the relationship with the former organization. These efforts proved to be unsuccessful and an agreement was not reached.
What is "Institutional Control"?
As stated in the NCAA Division I manual, "It is the responsibility of each member institution to control its intercollegiate athletics program in compliance with the rules and regulations of the Association." This means that Villanova University, as a member of the National Collegiate Athletics Association, will follow all rules and regulations.
Why is institutional control by the University important?
The University is directly responsible and accountable for all of the actions of its booster and fund raising organizations as required by NCAA rules and regulations. The NCAA's former Director of Enforcement and current Chief-of-Staff, David Berst further articulated the NCAA's position regarding this:
Although institutions solicit interest and support from groups like the Wildcat Club, we do not hesitate to hold the institution directly responsible under NCAA rules for the acts of such groups when assisting an athletics program. That can be especially detrimental to an institution in a case where there is no attempt to connect the administration of the club to the institution's structure.
Who is considered a Booster or an Athletics Representative?
An "athletics representative" is any individual who involves himself/herself in any manner with an organization (e.g., booster club) which promotes Villanova University athletics, makes contributions to the Villanova University booster club or to the Villanova University athletics department, assists in any degree in recruiting prospects, provides benefits (e.g., summer jobs) to enrolled student-athletes or their families, or otherwise contributes in promoting the institution's athletics program.
Was the Wildcat Club consulted regarding the University's interest in redefining a new role?
Yes, there were numerous meetings over the past two years. Presentations were made by University administrators to both the Wildcat Club Board of Directors and the Wildcat Club Executive Board. In addition, the University Board of Trustees formed a committee to thoroughly research and negotiate an acceptable agreement.
How will this affect dollars donated to the athletics department?
The athletics department has formed an organization called the Block V Club with the purpose of soliciting donations to directly benefit Villanova student-athletes.
Will the University accept future donations given to the Wildcat Club?
No, the Block V Club will be the fund raising arm of the athletics department.
How do I continue to support Villanova Student-Athletes?
All donations should be made payable to the Block V Club and mailed to the Block V Club, Villanova Athletics, 800 Lancaster Avenue, Villanova, PA 19085. Inquiries can be made by calling (610) 519-6594. Please note that more information on the benefits of Block V Club membership will be forthcoming.